Have you ever asked yourself what you’d do if you knew you were dying? Or, how would you live differently if you knew this year was your last year to live?
I was talking with my friend on the phone this morning and as I was recounting different ongoing family situations, I related that even though we had a real “wake-up call” last summer, we haven’t changed things we do or don’t do all that much. As I hung up the phone, it occurred to me that I must not take, or respond to, wake up calls all that seriously. I was disappointed with the reality of my inaction.
A few times a week I receive blog entries written by or about a woman who is graciously dying. I know, right?!? Graciously dying. She knows she’s dying — known it for quite awhile — wrote and published a book that she thought perhaps she’d never see in print, and yet, it has been circulating for a year or more, now. She’s battled cancer and, by her own admission, has sought to live well to the end. This is a relatively new way of describing living: living well. loving well. dying well. caring well for others. being loved well. You get the picture: well. Doing things well. I’m often put off by new lingo–but it reaches me eventually and sometimes even worms its way into my speech. Kinda like the, I know, right?!?! I frequently exclaim. Or, the use of the word, totally. I totally use that word.
Well, back to the wake up call. You know, when my husband had a heart attack this past summer – or three attacks, to be more realistic — it was hard to fathom the grave nature of what had happened. And I’m not sure if it’s his personality, his activity level or my own ignorance, but it’s like, Okay, so that happened, and we’ve moved on. Kinda like we moved on in 2007 when he had his first heart attack. But when I read about another woman dealing with a similar scenario, I’m moved with compassion and want to offer her comfort and encouragement; I pray for her and all that’s happening to her and what she’ll face in the midst of the trial: her wake up call. But mine? I don’t know why it doesn’t yet strike me the same way.
Well, as I talked with my friend, I realized I haven’t dared to just look at things for what they are and realize I need to take them more seriously. I’m not meaning I need to fall apart, cry it out or whatever, I mean that I need to recognize that real life’s happening and it is going to end. We are all, in fact, dying. At one rate or another, we’re all facing death. I wonder how quickly I’d make changes were I to be in Kara’s place – Kara of The Hardest Peace, Kara of Mundane Faithfulness – that Kara.
I keep reading Kara… and every day I learn something new about life, the Lord, peace and love. And as I work through my prayer/priority/goal-setting/evaluation Journal, This Beautiful Life, I learn more about what He has for me and what I ought to/might do about it all. I’ve decided to add to my thoughts as I’m writing in each section, the thought: would I value this more (or less) if I knew I was dying?
Because, I really am. I just have no idea when… and I want to live today in light of that fact.